Daily concerns for efficiency and safe operation have transformed loading dock equipment from after thoughts to top-priority considerations. Combined with a reliable, energy-efficient commercial garage door the loading dock is a key component of any business shipping and receiving goods of any size in Madison WI. No matter if you have one portal or a dozen docks, when products must move on time they are critical to your success.
Old-style loading docks came equipped with a manually operated door, pull-chain levelers (if there was one at all) and a couple of bumpers. These antiquated tools have been replaced with push-button dock levelers and remotely operated overhead commercial garage doors to accommodate bigger and bigger trailers. There’s specialized equipment to lock vehicles in place during loading/unloading.
Regularly employed loading dock equipment includes:
- Dock levelers of various sizes and shapes
- Pit levelers
- Dock edge levelers
- Top of dock levelers – most using powerful hydraulics
- Traditional boards and ramps – brought into the 21st century with new lighter but stronger materials
- Seals and Shelters to decrease energy loss around the doors and cover cargo and employees from the elements
- Truck restraints – with the use of larger, heavier trailers keeping trucks from moving relies on more than parking breaks. Mechanical restraints are the most efficient.
- Safety-oriented Products – bumpers in many sizes and shapes, simple wheel chocks, dock lighting, dock fans and traffic signals to assist lift truck operators and warehouse staff to keep things moving at a rapid pace.
Loading Dock Equipment for Every Job
The loading dock has evolved from a “hole in the back of the building” to a sophisticated work station. Efficient operation adds value to the business. Providing loading dock equipment and adequate commercial garage doors is providing solutions to daily challenges without “tearing things down and starting over.”
When planning new installations or upgrading existing facilities, consider the following during the early planning phase:
- Overall height off the ground of trucks/trailers – as vehicle design progresses and there’s a mix of old and new on the road, a new loading dock opening has to accommodate what you’ll see in the future. Most common trailers sit 48 inches above the pavement but some can be as low as 20 inches or a high as 62 inches.
- The size of the commercial garage door – the inside width of the newest trailers is expanding, it can be as much as 101 inches (about8.5 feet) to allow 40-inch pallets and 48-inch pallets to ride side-by-side. The inside height can be up to 114 inches so loads can be double-stacked. Maximizing the use of trailer volume is the goal – maximizing the efficiency for loading/unloading is the role of the dock door.
- Type of dock leveler – trailers seldom ride or park with their interior floors level and the position shifts as loads shift. A mechanical leveling system is a high priority on the list of loading dock equipment. Levelers are configured in several ways:
- Pit Style – both hydraulic and mechanical models are installed after the dock floor is poured so they can be accessed easily.
- Vertical Storing – both hydraulic and mechanical models are installed on concrete floor.
- Edge of Dock – both hydraulic and mechanical models used where a pit-style isn’t practical, for lower capacity and less frequent use.
Both hydraulic and mechanical levelers are available in many sizes and capacity ranges. Hydraulic equipment represents the higher end of the price scale, but distribution professionals recommend it as the greatest return on investment.
- Dock leveler size – ratings are often referred to in terms like “static, rollover and dynamic.” Static and rollover refer to the amount of weight the leveler can safely support either with product stacked on the deck or rolling over it. Dynamic refers to the force exerted by a load rolling over the leveler when it’s extended to its fullest position.
TIP FROM A PRO – Figures measuring dynamic capacity are the ones to pay attention to since they represent real, every day working conditions. These numbers take into account both the normal load and the lift truck moving it. Hint – the longer the leveler the greater the loads it can handle.
- Dock Seals and Shelters – Anywhere is Southern Wisconsin the weather has impact on shipping and receiving duties. Protecting cargo, employees and equipment from the elements is important – not to mention an energy-efficient commercial garage door installation reduces energy costs.
- Vehicle Restraint – loading dock equipment to keep trailers and trucks in place has come a long way since the day of shoving something in front of a wheel. Sophisticated locking mechanisms keep vehicles from moving as loads, balance and weight shifts. Warning lights announce when they’re engaged and they are controlled remotely from inside the building.
- Bumper Protection – there are a lot of moving parts around the loading dock. Everything from small parcels to full pallets and dangerously-heavy lifting vehicles are in motion. The chances of these objects coming together are high. A variety of bumper shapes and sizes can lessen the impact.
Commercial Garage Doors and Loading Dock Tools from Pros
The trained professionals at Northland Door Systems provide design, installation and service throughout Southern Wisconsin. Call Northland Door Systems at 608-251-3627 or email us for professional assistance in making your shipping/receiving more efficient with the latest in commercial garage doors and loading dock equipment for Madison WI.